Saturday, August 29, 2009

A Coke Worth Keeping

Let me tell you about a very special bottle of soda. ...

It all began in early 1950 when my father was transferred to the U.S. Naval Construction Battalion Center in Port Hueneme, California. He was working a cash register in the commissary store and had a buddy, Chief Stinnett, who worked in the butcher shop (ugh) there.

My dad told me that Stinnett (whose nickname was "Stinky") wasn't one to buy his buddies a drink, so my dad used to tease him relentlessly by asking, "Hey Stinnett, why don't you buy me a drink?"

Well, on March 22, 1950, Stinnett finally bought my dad a drink. Behold, the infamous Coke that Stinnett bought for my dad, Jack T. Hill, for 5 cents.

My dad kept the Coke under his register for over a year, until he was transferred to the USS Bolster on 14 Aug 1951. The Coke went with him, of course.

The next and last time that Dad saw Stinnett was in Japan, where Stinnett was in port on an inter-island cargo ship. Dad was going aboard the Bolster when he saw his old commissary buddy on the neighboring vessel. What memorable thing did my dad say to this old buddy?

He yelled, "Hey, Stinky!"

My sister recently sent this family treasure to me. So, I am not only the family historian. I am now The Keeper of THE Coke—60 years old and still unopened. Oh, the pressure!